Jackie Blank has retired after a profound, 44-year career in Iowa City real estate.
Jackie began in 1972 at Scheuerman-Richardson Realtors in Iowa City before leaving in 1979 to form the first local, female-owned brokerage with friend and business partner Jane McCune. Their first ad in the Iowa-City Press-Citizen read: “Jackie and Jane on their own at last. Blank and McCune, The Real Estate Company.”
With her retirement, we must acknowledge the void it leaves behind. A grand dame of real estate, Jackie is the definition of a professional. It was more than a job to Jackie; it was a way of life. She didn’t sell clients a house, she found them a home. This requires respecting both the person and the property. Watching her work through a transaction made it seem as if every client was a member of her family and Jackie their guardian. Nothing was more sacred than the client.
To a certain extent, Jackie became a shaman to her clients and community. She has the uncanny ability to see the inner conflict and pain of an individual. Numerous times, Jackie has helped both clients and friends leave unhealthy environments and guide them towards stability. Jackie navigated the roughest situations involving mental and physical abuse, socio-economic strain, and life crisis with the grace and confidence of a protector. The level of selflessness and compassion required to achieve such feats is nearly unheard of in our current times.
Jackie Blank is both a hero and a legend. She represents the highest ideal of a Realtor. Jackie has pursued honor her entire life and her loyalty towards clients and loved ones is unbreakable. The humility in her approach to success is something we should all strive for. The impact Jackie made on real estate means those of us continuing have the responsibility to make sure we continue to better the profession and never put one’s own interests above those of the client.
When I first told Jackie she was a legend, she replied, “I’m surely not a legend, but I’m glad I’m not a disgrace.” The level to which Jackie holds herself to when it comes to character and achievement is daunting.
Jackie’s tale is a long one and deserves its own record. It is a story of a woman making it on her own merits and strength. It involves a woman making local history, overcoming sexism, weathering heartache, defeating illness, and cultivating optimism, all while working to make life better for others. Despite all her accomplishments in a world where the cards were stacked against her, Jackie put herself second to all. She serves as an example of what it means to truly be a good person.
Sounds like a legend to me.